Friday, March 27, 2009

Ticket To Ride

Getting There, In A Roundabout Way

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This first photograph didn't fool you for one moment. Right? You knew immediately that I was shooting a ferris wheel, didn't you? These were taken at Birrarung Marr, here in Melbourne.


Sometimes you just have to make use of a hazy sky by shooting the tightest frames you possibly can. It helps if you have a 70-300mm lens, just like the one I used for these shots, taken about a fortnight ago.


Having a long lens means you can compose some interesting frames, even when you're shooting from almost a kilometre away.


And it means you can use hanging fronds of palm trees (above) in soft focus in the foreground, while keeping your main subject in clear view. On the other hand, you can wait for winter (below) and use bare trees as a stark counterpoint.


It's not crucial, however, to have a long lens. I shot these images of the same ferris wheel almost two years ago, on a cold, grey Mebourne winter morning - with a normal lens.


More often than not, a grey sky might seem unfriendly, but it is a great opportunity to utilise unusual angles or aspects to emphasise your subject.


Never be afraid to get close to your subject. And then, when you think you are close enough, you can always shuffle forward to get a few steps closer. Work the angles - you'll enjoy the results.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

56 comments:

Sylvia K said...

Love all the different angles of the ferris wheel! I learn something photography from all your posts! I appreciate that, too, since up until a few months ago I had never really used a camera at all to speak of. My kids Dad took all the pictures of the of them and I never had anything but a small cheap camera or later disposable ones. Then my son gave me the digital one I have now. Nothing major fancy, but I love it and hope to get another one of these days with zoom lens. Thanks for all the inspiration! Happy SWF!

Janet said...

I like the winter scene. Those are interesting buckets to sit in. Ferris wheels over here have little seats with alarmingly little material to keep you in.

Nessa said...

I love the unusual angles.

Shadow said...

aaah, the child in me loves them!

The Girl From Cherry Blossom Street said...

Those buckets look like an array of lanterns from afar! Oh did you say palm trees? :-)

This post is beautiful as it is informative. 70-300mm lens?!...mmm...let's see....that would make a very nice birthday present from my brothers!

Maggie May said...

Love all that machinery! The ride makes me dizzy just to look at it these days!!
We have one like that in London!

The Muse said...

Yes ! I love the shots which are close up...the mechanical and structural frame becomes pure art!

Daryl said...

Fantastic ..

and if you want to truly laugh out loud .. read this:http://travellingbutnotinlove.blogspot.com/2009/03/say-it-isnt-so.html

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a difference an angle makes!!!! Your photo studies are so engaging! I love these, particularly the close-ups...and the buckets looked a little like frozen pop in ice-cube trays ...mmmm...amazing what magic you work with a lens.

Louise said...

I had no idea the first photo was a ferris wheel. I'm unimaginative, I suppose!

As for the rest, I WANT a lens that goes to 300 mm...Oh, how I want it!

Jules~ said...

Yep I knew right away it was a ferris wheel. But I didn't realise that it is right there where you live. One more reason to add to my list of "why to visit Australia."
That is a neat tip on shooting close. It changes the sky completely. I thought it was a beautiful blue sky day until you showed us from far away.

Blessings to you today.

Artist Unplugged said...

My favorite is the naked trees with the wheel to the left. What can I say, I love naked trees! I also really like the last ones that are of a different angle. 'We'll go 'round in circles'....

Tarolino said...

These are very interesting shots and what a variety you have been able to come up with of the same subject. Just shows what a lot you can do with a camera and a portion of imagination. Inventive.
Loved the shots were you can see the apartment blocks through the wheel.
I actually was shooting a very similar subject today at a hill in Helsinki with views towards the amusement park Linnanmaki. We call it the Paris wheel and it certainly is a bit of a landmark. Perhaps one day I'll publish mine in my planned 'My Helsinki' series.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Thank you David for all these tips - be patient with me and you might make a photographer out of me yet! Lovely shots.

Leslie: said...

Incredible shots, but I must admit my favourite is the last one - such a tight frame. :D

Robynn's Ravings said...

I want to go to all the technical places about this but the child in me just wants to ride! Wish I was there!

Alison said...

I love those photographs of the various angles of the ferris wheel. What an American tradition a ferris wheel is!
-Alison
www.organizedali.blogspot.com

Gill - That British Woman said...

what an interesting variety of shots.......as someone who is frightened of heights, I would be taking the photos, not going on the ride!!

Gill in Canada

Kitty said...

I love ferris wheels, especially when people shake the bucket! The second from last photo really works for me - it's dizzying even from the ground!

Guy D said...

Great skywatch shots David, that wheel looks like alot of fun.

Have a great weekend!
Guy
Regina In Pictures

Tarolino said...

I have something for you in my blog. Your POTD topic is such a wonderful and creative idea.

Darla said...

Those are cool shots!

bowledover said...

It is now a regular thing to hold off snapping and move to see what else can be seen. Thank you for your perspective.
Love the Ferris wheel pictures too.

Erin said...

what a fab series of shots utilizing different angles and such. makes me want to seek out the ferris wheel when it comes to town this summer and take some pics.
thanks for sharing.

Maya@Completely-Coastal said...

I love the "unusual angle" of the second last shot. It almost makes me dizzy.

lakeviewer said...

Love the advice, get closer, and then, get even closer. Will do.

VALKYRIEN said...

I felt my stomach jumping... I have been in one of those once in my life - and never more!!

Love the last 2 though (everyone of them is great - but my stomach you know....:-)), the angel and the machinery is a great front to the sky!

RuneE said...

Very interesting aspects. You gave me some ideas for my next visit to London (whenever that might be). I'll definitely bring my new 70 - 300.

This was just plain great!

Janie said...

Your photography process is always so interesting. I knew the first one was a ferris wheel, but in the last shot, up close, I never would have guessed.

cheshire wife said...

I almost feel as if I have benn up on that ferris wheel, but I still have my stomach!

Dr.John said...

Loved all the pictures. I appreciate the lessons.
Now if I can only remember what I have learned.

Jeri said...

Love your photos - very artistic!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

That maykes me feel dizzy!!!

Yo David!

I'm goin to hav a pawty this weekend to sellybrate my 500th post :@}
Festivitys kik off tomorro at noon UK time an larst till midnite Sunday!
Pleez come by!
Leev sum jokes in the comments sekshun ov Friday's post.
Weel be havin cayke, ginger beer, scooby snaks an a serprize speshul gest!!!!!
Pleez come it won't be the sayme wivowt yu!

:@D

prkl said...

I like the pic that's second from the top. It has nice rythm in it, almost hearable. Well done. Happy SWF!

Colin Campbell said...

Ferris wheels are so interesting. We have the Ferris Wheel for the Royal Adelaide show just behind our office.

Lori said...

That is the biggest ferris wheel I've ever seen! Look how close all those cars are together!

Really cool shots, David. Wish I had more time to visit here more often. Hope you are well.

The Write Girl said...

I love the shot of the ferris wheel. You captured a lot of great shots from various angles.
The design on those rides are very cool.

Now and Then said...

I love ferris wheel, the winter shot is lovely.

susieofarabia said...

Thanks for the free lesson, Dave! Composition and a little bit of forethought make such a difference.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I just discovered a little of this photo lesson last week when I shot many photos of the underside of a bridge on a gray day. I loved how they came out.

Ferris wheels are nice when you have a good view to look at. The closest one to us is most lovely during the autumn foliage season in New England.

PJ said...

Thanks for the tutorial. It makes me want to buy my dream camera even more. Thank you for stopping by ny blog,

skywind said...

Oh, so enormous Ferris wheel.
Health information
Humor & Fun World

Doreen said...

wonderful post and love the shots of the ferris wheel. Ferris wheels always scared me as a child. Didn't like the ride at all!!

Woman in a Window said...

Cool, David. I like that you've highlighted different lenses and different skies. Interesting. And great shots.

Linnea W said...

Wonderful shots with useful commentary! I especially like the one with the tall buildings in the background. You sure have a steady hand...Thanks for sharing these...

Willow said...

I am reminded of the photos I took of The Eye in London last summer. I love them because they look much like your first photo. I've never posted them on my blog b/c I didn't think other people would think them attractive. Maybe I'll rethink that. Thanks again for all your 'instruction' in photography--I'm learning so much.

Tammie Lee said...

These are fun images. The last three really did it for me, wonderful all up close!

Bryan said...

Nice winter shots. The bare trees get one wondering if the Ferris wheel suffers the same fate, but looking closer we can see people around the base waiting in line for a magical trip in a circle.

Shawna said...

I love this shot taken underneath the Ferris wheel:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Owga9A0xuIM/Scoc8dl_0WI/AAAAAAAAKHE/j_0aoFZ9Xwg/s400/07carousel1.jpg

You are so right about getting close to your subject...and then moving in a bit closer. You can capture so much more character and detail that way.

Pearl Maple said...

Fun photos seeing a familiar shape from different angles.

ApRiL said...

that is one amazing discovery... love the ferry's wheel, although frightened to ride alone...LOL

Check out mine too:

HISTORY of SUPERNOVA and SWEETPAIN
ANGELS IN MY LIFE
SPICES OF LIFE

Nova said...

Lovely Sky...

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

I absolutely love the winter shot with the trees!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Love all the different angles you took David, it's a bit like the London Eye on a smaller scale.

Annie said...

Love these photos David..

Mojo said...

The "bottom-up" scene from underneath is superb! And I quite agree -- coming in close whether you do it physically or just optically yields the best results for most subjects.

But it's not only in bad light that this is a useful technique. I find that a lot of times, background is simply extraneous at best and downright distracting at worst. And while I would still shoot a breathtaking landscape or sunset as wide as possible (probably), a tree can be represented in a single branch -- or even a single leaf. It forces the viewer to fill in the blanks, and makes them a participant in the process rather than merely a spectator.

And then there's macro photography, which is a whole other thing.